No visit to the Belgian coast is complete without nipping inland to visit the infamous medieval town of Bruges. It is the most beautiful city in Belgium in our opinion! Its fairy tale-like buildings, cobbled streets, horse drawn carriages, chocolate shops and canal boat cruises attract tourists all year round and have helped earned it its title of a UNESCO world heritage city. This really is a picture postcard place and one of the best places to watch chocolate being made through the windows of the many chocolate shops. The chocolatiers regularly have an audience of small children pressing their faces up against the window to look down on the magical workings below street level!
Probably the best and most well-known one is the Chocolate Line on Simon Stevinplein. They have a mini chocolate factory in their shop where you can watch the chocolate being made from scratch. Also try and visit the café upstairs in the Old Chocolate House on Mariastraat who claim to serve the best hot chocolate in Bruges! Buggies can be left downstairs.
Recently opened is the wonderful House of Waffles. We visited over Christmas with our 3-year-old and our 18-month-old and we enjoyed the most delicious strawberry and vanilla icecream waffles and real hot chocolate with chocolate stick stirrers! The staff are really friendly and accommodating. At the time of opening they didn’t have high chairs but the chairs were high enough to the tables for our 18 month old to be able to sit and eat without any problems. It is located on the Wollestraat, next door to the torture museum, but don’t let that deter you!
Boat trips and horse drawn carriage rides might not seem practical if you’re travelling with a baby and /or toddler and buggy but buggies can be left safely on the jetty or at the ticket office and can be stored in the carriage of the horse drawn tours. Horse carriage tours are typically 50€ for a half hour tour which includes a stop mid way by the swan pond for the horses to have a snack and a drink! This is a wonderful way to explore Bruges with small children and being on board is a big distraction in itself. Equally, buggy rides along the canals, looking at the swans can be fascinating, and the quiet streets are traffic free.
Not to be missed is a visit to the Chocolate Museum (Choco-story) where you can watch chocolate being made as well as taste it (and the mum and dad can learn about the history of the chocolate makers). There is a special children’s trail through the museum.
Bruges also has a couple of lovely parks which are worth a visit with small children. Both about a 10 minute walk from the centre (in opposite directions) the Koningin Astrid park has a lovely little playground and duck pond, and the Graafvisart park has a little toddler area and is also a great place for learning to ride a bike.
From Bruges you are also only a couple of hours from the Efteling fairytale theme park in Holland.
Using local knowledge to bring you the best baby and toddler accommodation, attractions and toddler friendly activities.